first_imgNewly-elected International Hockey Federation (FIH) president DrNarinder Batra said the world body will not force India to play Pakistan in any bilateral series. Speaking to India Today, Batra also added that a medal for India in the next Olympics & the World Cup is thetarget.It took almost a century, but after 92 years for thefirst time an Indian will govern World Hockey and Narinder Batra saysthe effort & hard work he put in Hockey India will bear fruit at the game’s biggest stage. (Priority for world hockey body is to expand base: Narinder Batra)India Today caught up with the new FIHchief & the outgoing Hockey India president as he outlines hisvision for Indian hockey, India vs Pakistan & growth of the sport in the world. Here are the excerpts.India Today: Indian Hockeysaw a rise under your tenure in terms of ranking & titles. What isyour goal, when can we get our hands on that elusive Olympic medal?Narinder Batra: According to our planning, I think we are looking for a podium forIndia in both 2018 World Cup (in India) & 2020 Olympics (in Tokyo).The discussion I have had with the team is that the men’s team at theAsian level should be always in the finals and in the FIH tournamentsthey should always reach in the semi finals, if you are in the top-4, on a good day you can always reach the final else you would be playing for 3rd.advertisementIndia Today: While you opposed Indo-Pak hockey series as Hockey India chief, what is your stand on it as FIH President?Narinder Batra: In bilateral issues FIH can only request and it cannot do much, if that wasn’t the case then the issues between Indo-Pak would have beenresolved 2 years ago. There have always been positive vibrations comingfrom FIH. These were issues between the two countries and when we met in Dubai (before FIH elections), we did not meet before that till now, weboth met and it took two days but I feel all issues were resolved tosatisfaction of both (Ind & Pak federations).India Today: For the Junior World Cup & senior World Cup two years down the line do you see Pakistani teams & players coming to play in India?Narinder Batra: As far as the information I have as FIH President, yes Pakistan hasconfirmed they are coming so I see no reason why they would not come.Till the Junior World Cup I would be wearing both the hats (in HI &FIH) so the dates of arrival or the hotel where they will stay, we willhave a look at it and we will have to see that adequate security isprovided not only to the Pakistani team but all teams that are coming.India Today: Would you say it remains up to Hockey India & PakistanFederation to decide whether or not to play any bilateral series?Narinder Batra: Absolutely.However Narinder Batra did express reservations about Pakistani players participating in the Hockey India league just yet.”Hockey India (HI) puts it on website so players can apply to play in theleague and then they are picked up. Providing security to Pakistaniplayers in a private event which is not a FIH event, I mean a domesticleague with international players, their security (Pak players) can bean issue sometime so we will see how the political situation remains and then only such commitments can be made. Like in other sports until theclimate improves the current situation will continue.”Havingseen a revival of Indian hockey under his tenure Narinder Batra now has a larger role to fulfil. Rubbishing rumours about Hockey’s spot inOlympics being in jeopardy, Batra says his goal is to take hockey to all corners of the globe.India Today: What does your election in FIH mean for Indian Hockey? Will Indian hockey continue to grow?Narinder Batra: India is always very important in the FIH scheme of things and thatwill continue to remain. I don’t see any reason why Hockey in Indiashould not continue to grow at the pace at which it has been growing.Besides me Hockey in India is being run by a professional staff, youhave a CEO and the entire office staff, they will be handling it. Restof the board is equally competent so I am confident that graph of Indian Hockey will go up.advertisementIndia Today: What will your role & responsibilities be in the FIH?Narinder Batra: I don’t see my involvement in day-to-day functioning of FIH as theyhave a competent staff with whom I have been dealing with for past 5-6years. I would focus on expanding the base of hockey to many morecountries and how to increase the revenues in FIH so that we can support & assist the other member countries, make the game moreprofessional so people see that they can make a career out of hockey.India Today: So does this signal an end to your stint in Hockey India?Narinder Batra: Yes, I will have to quit my posts as Hockey India President, Chairmanof Hockey India league, Chairman of J&K hockey and my post in AsianHockey Federation.India Today: So how do you rate your tenure as Hockey India President?Narinder Batra: I am satisfied to quite an extent but I would have been much happierhad we won a medal in Olympics or World Cup. One regret I would go outwith is that I could not start a league for women.last_img

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